Like everything in this course, further oral activities require skills that can be developed and perfected with time and practice. There are a few tips and tricks that you can find here to help you approach this form of assessment.

  1. Conduct a lot of further oral activities under different circumstances. As a minimum requirement, you must do two FOAs; one on Part 1 and one on Part 2. But the advantage to doing more is that there are more opportunities to learn from mistakes. Try doing one with minimal preparation, or 'off the cuff', early in the course. Then, later in the course, after reflecting on previous attempts, take more time to prepare and plan. Remember best one counts. You can afford to learn from mistakes.

  2. Start with the learning outcomes from Part 1 and Part 2 and plan back from there. Ask yourself: 'How will my activity show that I have met this particular learning outcome?' Unpack a learning outcome like you would an exam question or written task 2 question, using mind maps or spider diagrams. For example, for the third learning outcome from Part 1, which reads 'Demonstrate an awareness of how language and meaning are shaped by culture and context,' you can create a presentation of 10 different McDonald's ads from around the world, commenting on how this multinational corporation has shown cultural sensitivity to sell their product world-wide. 

  3. Although you may do a range of activities from presentations to debates, from interviews to theatrical plays, notice that the assessment criteria do not test your creativity. Instead they test your understanding and knowledge of one or more texts in relation to the topics studied in Parts 1 and 2. Criterion B even asks to demonstrate how language is used to create meaning. In other words, if there is no reference to the language of a primary or secondary source, the activity will fail. In essence this is what happens on the first (SL) sample further oral activity.

  4. Conduct the further oral activities in a classroom setting for all classmates to see. This creates an opportunity for peer assessment and interaction. Students can ask questions and learn from each other.

  5. Record further oral activities. Although this is not a requirement, you can learn a lot by reviewing your work. A recording makes this possible. If video recording is too intimidating, an audio recording should suffice.

  6. If you are going to use PowerPoint, use it correctly. Using PowerPoint is a skill that does not come naturally to everyone. 

  7. Listen to sample further oral activities and assess them according to the assessment criteria. This will make you more familiar with the nature of the task and make your own activity more focused and relevant.

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Comments 11

Annelet Lykles 6 April 2017 - 15:39

Hi Tim and David,
My question concerns - doing a FOA and preparing a scirpt for the FOAs.
I have just finished the oral activities and quite a few of my students did a good job discussing Brexit speeches and Trump speeches. Their oral activity was organised as a radio show, with experts coming in to comment and analyse the speeches. I agree that the text type speech allows them to comment on the use rhetorical techniques.
I was just wondering when assessing them to what extend are they allowed to script their FOA and use the script during the FOA itself. Some students tend to read from script (occassionally glancing up from their paper), and others have speech cards. I have been marking them down on criterion D: language, even though their scripted language was clear, appropriate and with a good degree of sentence construction.
How do you feel about scripted FOAs?
Kind regards,

Tim Pruzinsky 7 April 2017 - 00:57

Hi Annelet,

Your question, "how do I feel about scripted FOAs" is a complex one. In the scenario you present, I don't see how the students could have been organized or known what they were going to say without creating a script beforehand. In that sense, I strongly believe one was needed in this case.

However, I also strongly believe the students should not have the script in front of them when presenting. No paper. Index cards with a few bullet points (minimal words) could be appropriate in this case, but I would not be okay with them having the entire script in front of them.

I hope that clarifies how I see FOAs and the presenting of them to the class.


Taylor Madden 18 April 2017 - 19:21

Hi Tim and David,

We just submitted our IA scores to the IBIS site, and we realized that the way we input scores has changed since we last did it. We were not asked to include the FOA scores at all in the uploading of the IA scores. Do you know when/how we are to report the scores for the students' FOAs? In the past, we completed the LIA form which required both the FOA and the IOC, then averaged the two for the total IA score. Please advise. Thank you!

Tim Pruzinsky 19 April 2017 - 01:06

Hi Taylor,

Since it is all online now, you submit the overall IA mark (IOC + FOA divided by 2). You input that overall score into IBIS. IBIS spits back the sample they want. You send the sample.

But, all you send is the information about the IOC. And moderation is applied - as has always been the case - based on your marks from the IOC.

It feels odd not letting the IB know the official breakdown for the FOA. Essentially, they are saying they don't need it because they don't actually listen to them anyway. Please ask if this still doesn't answer your question.


Margaret Das 2 May 2017 - 16:35

Hi Tim
A quick question... When would you complete the FOA's. Sounds like an obvious question but there seems to be a sense that we must get it out of the way as fast as possible. I'd love some light on this.
Thank you

Tim Pruzinsky 3 May 2017 - 04:22

Hi Margaret,

You can complete the FOA's at any point in time during the course, as long as you submit the marks to the IB by their deadline (April 20th for May exams).

Many schools do the FOA's in 11th grade because IOC's are a tougher assessment. They also are concerned with Paper 2 (so Part 3 texts) and many schools teach these texts last. That leaves the question of where do the FOA's fall in the curriculum. For that reason, many schools do them early. My current school completes one in November of year 1 and the second one in June of year 1. I'm okay with that and it seems to fit our situation well.

However, the IB will never tell you when to complete them - as long as you hit their deadline. It is up to each school to decide when they should be completed and that will look different for every single school for a wide range of reasons.


Anthony Sweeney 13 July 2017 - 06:52

Hi, The subject guide states that students upon completing the F.O.A should write a reflective statement and this should be kept by the school. Any details on length, etc for this statement.

David McIntyre 17 July 2017 - 19:06

Hi Tony,

You won't get any further information than is published in the subject guide. I like the idea of reflective statement (although one may wonder why it is limited to the FOA). It's really up to you to provide some direction to your students. I guess one rationale for a reflective statement is to provide a basis for future improvement in a further FOA/FOAs, so this understanding may guide teachers in guiding their students.

In my own teaching, I tend to use the grading criteria as the basis for reflection, and limit reflective statements to 250-300 words. As we move on to a second/subsequent FOA, I like to use the (previous) reflective statement in initial discussions with my students.

I hope this helps.



Anthony Sweeney 18 July 2017 - 06:34

Thanks for the reply. That info will help.

elizabeth smith 24 September 2017 - 16:31

Hello Tim

The syllabus makes it clear that the IOC must be 15 minutes , but I could find nothing explicit about the length of the FOA. What would you advise?



Tim Pruzinsky 25 September 2017 - 02:54

Hi Elizabeth,

The IB isn't clear about this. Most teachers put it at 10-15 minutes for an individual student and longer for a pair/group.


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